Student-Loan Debt, Delinquency, and Default: A New England Perspective Student-Loan Debt, Delinquency, and Default: A New England Perspective

By Robert Clifford

In 2009, student debt became the largest non-housing-related consumer debt in the United States. By the end of 2015, outstanding student debt balances had reached $1.23 trillion. These milestones coincided with increasing rates of delinquency and default among borrowers, raising concerns about the affordability of student debt and leading many to warn about a “student debt crisis.” For New England, with its highly educated population and large higher education industry, student debt is a salient economic and policy issue. All six New England states have formed subcommittees, fielded commissions, contracted studies, and proposed or passed legislation targeting student debt. Unfortunately, such policy discussions often lack detailed information on trends in state and regional student-loan debt.

This report analyzes trends in student-loan debt, delinquency, and defaults in New England relative to the nation. Analyzing data at both the institutional level, where student loan debt is originated, and the individual level, where borrowers make payments, it discusses factors that may influence students’ ability to sustain payments on their student loan debt.

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